As we get prepared to take some of our high school-aged teams to Indianapolis and Memphis for two college showcase tournaments, I thought I would share some of my thoughts and ideas on the recruiting process.
If you (or your child) have a desire to play in college, you can make it possible through the right amount of work. There is a great range in levels of college athletics across the different collegiate divisions. There is also great variation in ability among schools, which would allow most any competitive player with enough desire a chance to play. I have seen some very strong players choose not to play in college for a variety of reasons. I have also seen some fairly average players on their club team find a good fit and enjoy the opportunity to play for their school. Playing soccer in college can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life, if you are able to find the right fit for you personally, athletically, and academically. I know I speak for myself, and many coaches on our staff, when I say that playing in college, while more difficult, was the most fun I ever had playing the game. Synergy has had quite a few players that have gone on to play in college with great stories and experiences to show for it. We hope to see the next generation of Synergy players achieve the same goals.
So, what do you have to do to give yourself the chance to play at the next level? There are a few resources attached here that give some great information on the best way to achieve your goal:
CaptainU – This article shows coaches’ opinions and shares their advice on this process.
Do’s and Dont’s of Recruiting according to USYS – This article shares some basic ideas about the recruiting process and the rules the college coaches must follow.
Best Way to Communicate With Coaches – The Ohio South Youth Soccer Association offers a great deal of resources for players looking to find out more information about playing in college.
From my experiences, the most important things to do to give a player the opportunity to play in college is to do the research, market yourself, and attend camps. College coaches want to make sure they are recruiting players that have a desire to play. They are looking for about 8 players each year that fit with their school and program out of hundreds of thousands of players your age across the country (and sometimes outside of the country). You need to prove to them that you are interested and have the ability to play. Contact the coaches at the schools you are interested in about once every two months to prove to them you have a desire to go to their school. Attend their college ID or recruitment camps. Fill out their recruiting brochure on their website. Tell the coach you will be attending a game. Invite them to watch you play at the tournaments your team will be participating in. Ask about other events they will be attending and see if it is possible for you to play in that event as a guest. Coaches want to know that you are very interested in their school before they will be very interested in you.
Don’t get discouraged if the coach does not respond to everything. They have rules to follow and they are very busy people, especially with all the travel involved at some schools. Make sure you keep more than one option so as things start to change and you learn more about your top school, you have already communicated with coaches at other schools. Keep realistic goals in mind. Not all college soccer is elite level Division I schools. There are many options.
Most importantly, make sure you have a desire to continue to play. If you love the game and want to get the most out of it, you can find the right environment. Stay positive, keep an open mind, and always feel free to ask your Synergy coaches for help!